Bean there, done that

Elongated long bean seeds with rounded winged bean seeds.

Have I already mentioned how I absolutely hate to have to buy veggies that I know I can grow in our garden? I do, and now that the weather is more cooperative, I’ve given in to my hankering to start planting my edible plants again.

Most important to me was to get some bean plants growing, because those did quite well last year. This time, though, I want more – and I think I can remember to plant progressively to give us a continuous supply over time. So, long beans plants are growing now and I’m pleased.

Young winged bean plant spreading up and out.

I’m even more pleased because I’ve also got some four-angled bean plants growing. Known locally as kacang botol or the winged bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus), this was not an easy plant to grow from from seed. I bought a packet of seeds – the type you can get in the supermarket or nurseries – and planted the lot of less than 10 seeds. Disappointingly, only one germinated and grew. I got more seeds from another source, and thankfully, the germination rate was much better – 4 out of 6 of the directly planted seeds finally germinated. The most common bit of advice is to get seeds as fresh as you can, otherwise their viability plummets, so I’ll be sure to use up the seeds as fast as possible. :P

Energetically growing long bean plant.

This time, I’m using an unused metal frame as part of my trellis. It’s an old structure that’s been out in the garden forever – a central metal pole with a cross-frame atop it like a giant plus sign. It reminds me of helicopter rotor blades…

I’ve prepared growing beds in an L-shape below two corresponding bars. Short bamboo sticks provide the initial growing supports for the plants, and twine will connect the sticks to the bars above for the plants to grow up to the frame. I also plan on connecting each set of perpendicular bars with twine or wire to provide a triangular, horizontal surface for the vines to spread over. Of course, a niggling concern is whether the vines will cross over to each others’ territory and if that will affect them in any way. However, that’s something to observe in the weeks to come. For now, though, the bean plants are growing!

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